Choosing an insurance agent: Experience is not expertise

In my last blog post, I wrote how you should choose an agent with enough experience to be competent. More than 2 years is enough, but 5 to 10 years experience is preferable. Anything more than 10 years is not relevant. But experience does not guarantee expertise.

True expertise is hard to find. I have always been surprised how little your average, experienced & successful agent knows about the products they sell, or how much bad information they can provide to their customers & prospective customers. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: Questions to ask before you buy

Most people do not know the important questions to ask, or what to look for in the replies of an insurance agent, to know if an agent is deserving of your business. This blog post will give you tips on what questions to ask, and how to ask them. so you are able to see through empty claims of great customer service & expertise.

If you have visited the “about us” section of almost any insurance agency web site, you read the same things: Our customers are the focus of our business. We are committed to personal service. We work hard to get you the coverage you need at a low price, etc. The truth is anybody can claim to provide a high level or personal customer service, and just about everyone claims to provide it. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: What to expect from a good agent

I started this blog series about how to choose an agent, telling you about the hype you hear from every agent, usually in a confident, friendly manner: “I have many years experience. I represent a large, old, financially stable company with 24 hour claims service. I’m an independent agent, and I can shop the home & auto insurance market for you (except I don’t tell you I don’t represent some of the biggest & best companies). I put my customers first. Yadda, yadda, yadda.”

There are lots of well-established, financially strong insurance companies. Most companies have 24 hour claims reporting. Almost all of the reasons agents tell you why you should insure with them are not unique, and they are common among all insurance companies. If other companies offer the same benefits, why shouldn’t you choose the company with the lowest price?

Some agents do add value with the service they provide, and this blog post will show you how to recognize this value, and allow you to tell the agents really putting their customers first, from the majority of agents merely claiming to put their customers first. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: Your agent’s office location

How important is it for your agent’s office to be close to your home or work? For a lot of people, this is an important factor for choosing an agent. But for most people, choosing an agent based on the agent’s office location can be a mistake. Depending on your needs, the location of your agent’s office may not be important at all. This blog post will tell you when having an agent close to you is important, and when choosing the agent closest to you is a mistake. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: Referrals

One thing recommended to insurance shoppers, often by objective sources like your state’s department of insurance informational brochures, is to ask your friends, family, & neighbors for their opinions about insurance companies. In my opinion, personal referrals are not useful in making sure you will get good customer service from your agent or insurance company. This blog post will explain why referrals are not reliable, and where to find more objective measures of customer service, so you can avoid having problems when you most need the help of your agent or company. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: Check for license & complaints

Whether you buy your insurance from an agent, or directly from the company, you need to make sure your agent or company is properly licensed in your state to sell the type of insurance you are buying, and see if there has been any complaints or disciplinary actions against your agent or company. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: How much experience is needed?

Here is my second tip for choosing an insurance agent, which can save you from making costly mistakes:

Know how much experience is important, & avoid inexperienced agents

Some agents try to convince you to insure with them based on their many years of experience, or the experience of their employees. I know one agent added up the total number of years of experience of their agency employees to conclude their combined experience equals over 100 hundred years! This sounds impressive, but does it really benefit the customer? I don’t think so. Continue reading

Choosing an insurance agent: Is your agent any good?

Do you have a good insurance agent? Most people find out the hard way when they have a problem or a claim. This is the first in a series of blog posts giving you tips on how to find an excellent agent and avoid bad ones. The first thing you may think, is you can avoid having to worry about finding a good agent by not having an agent at all, and buying direct from the insurance company. Doesn’t it cost more to have an insurance agent? Isn’t it cheaper to buy direct, anyway? Continue reading

Insurance Agents Work for You

One of the advantages of shopping for insurance online is you can find out the price, without having to speak with an insurance sales person, and avoid someone trying to sell you an insurance policy. But this advantage is often a disadvantage to getting the best price for your insurance. Continue reading

Do I Need an Insurance Agent?

Buying auto insurance or homeowners insurance direct from the insurance company is easier than ever. Modern technology enables you to contact your insurance company when it is convenient for you. In the 21st century, is there any need for a local agent, working 9 am to 5 pm weekdays, in an office close to you? What’s the benefit to you? What do insurance agents do for you? Continue reading